When Work is Beyond 5 O’Clock: Part 2

Going to events after work in the name of business involves more thought when it comes to dressing the part.  Now if the invitation has the word “casual” in it here are some of the variations and their interpretation.  Bottom line you will want to make sure that your clothing is clean, pressed, coordinated and accessorized.  If jeans are in the picture go with those that are tailored with a dark wash.  Further, when it comes to events that are for your work sexy attire or fashion extremes are not appropriate.

  • Dressy Casual: Usually means a sport coat and trousers for men and tailored separates for women.
  • Resort Casual: Includes Hawaiian or leisure shirts worn out and trousers, or a sport coat and trousers for men, and breezy tops and pants or day dresses for women.
  • Smart Casual: Usually means a sport coat for men and tailored separates for women.

The most important tip to remember regarding any event is to put your best foot forward with a clothing ensemble that is in good condition, coordinated and accessorized for impact.  Here are some additional tips for dressing for work when it’s after five and beyond:

  • When the event is black tie, men will need to rent a tux or wear a dark (black or navy) suit and tie.  Some creativity is permitted in the cummerbund and tie if your corporate culture is less restrictive.  However, with the tux black hosiery and black shoes are a must.
  • For black tie events, women might look to wearing a short, three quarter or long dress or gown in silk, chiffon, crepe, taffeta, or organza (keep the velvet for the cooler months of October through January).  This is a truly dressed up event so look your best and accessorize with appropriate shoes such as strapped evening sandals in metallic and ultra sheer hosiery.  Include dramatic jewelry and a clutch.    Showing up in a lounge suit is not an option.  Although tempting avoid showing off too much cleavage and too much thigh.
  • If attending a professional conference or trade show, the attire you wear for work would be appropriate for this event. This is where you network and/or meet potential clients or employers. If making a presentation consider wearing a jacket to distinguish yourself.   If the conference is in San Diego, Maui or St. Thomas, Hawaiian shirts are in order for most of the time there; however, bring a blazer and dress shirts for conference banquets. If you’re in the advertising industry or similar creative fields wearing a shirt out with a jacket and good slacks are fine for a banquet.  For women consider slacks and a fitted shirt or mid calf skirts and tops.  Consider a simple dress with a shawl or try a matching tunic top and bottom with interesting jewelry for evening banquets.

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About vseitz

Marketing Professor at California State University, San Bernardino and author of "I Don't Wear A Suit."

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